A curious example of the kind of confusion caused by those light-hearted Christmas medical journals cropped up this week.
The British Medical Journal printed a letter in which a doctor admitted making up a condition some 30 years ago. The condition, dubbed Cello Scrotum, was supposed to be an injury acquired by cellists. It was a fiction, a prank.
Nevertheless there it was in a respected medical journal. So in December it was recycled in a further light-hearted article in the BMJ about musical maladies. It must be hard enough being a cellist without having to worry about damage to your manhood.
So at last the authoress of the original letter owned up. By now she has risen to great heights and is Baroness Elaine Murphy, a member of the British House of Lords.
The Baroness owned up but in an unrepentant kind of fashion. She stated: "We have been dining out on this story ever since. We were thrilled once more to be quoted in 'A symphony of maladies.'"